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LPG smuggling continues despite ban


June 16, 2008

Thailand: LPG smuggling continues despite ban

Despite the attempted suppression of smuggling of  Thai government-subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to neighbouring countries, the illegal activities continue, the Thai News Agency quoted an official of the Ministry of Energy as saying Sunday.

Thai-sourced cooking gas is still seen in Myanmar markets opposite the Thai border district of Mae Sot in Tak province despite the export ban imposed by the Thai government, said Metta Banturngsuk, the director-general of the Energy Business Department.

Smuggling of cooking gas across the Thai-Cambodian border is also rampant, according to Metta.

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While it costs about 40 baht per kilogramme in the world market and in Thailand at 18.13 baht per kg, the selling price of cooking gas in Cambodia is as high as 1,000 baht per 15 kg tank. In Thailand, the price of LPG is about 270-280 baht per tank.

In March this year, the Energy Business Department banned the export of LPG as demand for it in Thailand surpassed local production capacity and the country was forced to import it for the first time in April.

Imported gas is higher priced than the local product  by about double and the government is maintaining the price through subsidisation from its Oil Fund programme.

The demand for LPG in Thailand has sharply risen, especially in the transportation and industrial sectors, due to soaring prices of other forms of energy.

The latest statistics showed that the demand for LPG in April rose to an average of 10.90 million kg daily, up 17.8 percent from a year ago.

Demand for LPG in the household sector in Thailand usually rises between 2-3 percent yearly, indicating that LPG is used widely for vehicles, agricultural and industrial sectors.

The Ministry of Energy has decided to maintain retail price of LPG for household use, but will up the price for transportation and industrial sectors next month.

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